Frank Sanborn

Obituary of Frank Allen Sanborn

Frank Allen Sanborn, 78, passed away June 25, 2023, at Capital Medical Center in Olympia, Washington. He was born January 4, 1945, to Virginia and Frank “Pancho” Sanborn in Bryan, Texas.

His early childhood years were spent living in Mexico City until the family moved to Dallas. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1963, Frank went on to the University of Texas at Arlington to earn a B.S. in Psychology and an M.A. in Mathematical Psychology. Frank worked in Texas and Connecticut before moving to Washington State in 1976.  

In 1976, Frank began working for the Department of Social and Health Services in Olympia and, in 1978 at a going away party for a colleague, he met his wife, Carol. They dated and were married on July 20, 1978. Frank and Carol enjoyed life together, taking in the Washington and Oregon sites with Frank’s family from Texas, enjoying day trips, building their dream home, sitting on the porch, doing projects in the yard and their trails, spending time with friends, and hosting many family gatherings. His love for Carol was evident in all that he did.

With Carol came her daughter, Tracey. At the age of four, Frank stepped in to fill the role of “Dad.”  Frank loved Tracey as his own and was extremely proud of the goals she accomplished and the family she and Jaime built. Frank always enjoyed bringing Tracey along to run errands in his white Porsche, which later turned into a Ford Bronco, or enlisting her help with his photography business. He loved her children, Emily and Ella, and was a proud “Papa” as he watched them grow into the young women they are today.    

Frank retired as the facilities manager for the Developmental Disabilities Division of DSHS in 2007. After retirement, he jumped into overseeing a large construction project at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he is a member. He served on Westminster’s Buildings and Grounds Committee for many years, helped with setting up Camp Quixote several times at the church, and served on their Hope Village Committee, a group focused on serving the homeless in Thurston County. 

Frank had many interests. For many years his business, Sanborn Photography, captured memories of special events for families in the Olympia community, including weddings, dance recitals, team sports, and senior pictures. At a prompting to try something new, Frank performed in the play “The Pursuit of Happiness” at the Olympia Little Theatre. In his younger years, you could find Frank riding his red Harley Davidson or accomplishing the 200+ mile Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride. He also served as a volunteer Thurston County Deputy Sheriff for 15 years.  After selling the Harley for a Kubota tractor, he began working on various projects at the place he and Carol called home for 21 years.   

Frank is survived by his wife of 45 years, Carol; daughter, Tracey (Jaime) Bongat; grandchildren, Emily (Abraham) and Ella Bongat; and sister, Marilee (AB) Willingham of Frisco, Texas. He also has many nieces and nephews whom he cherished. He is preceded in death by his parents.

We miss Frank, Dad, and Papa deeply. We are forever grateful for the memories of his humor, love of spicy things, BBQ, his “collections,” his ability to answer a question with a long answer, playing games with his grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, and his joyful belly laugh.

A service is planned for Saturday, August 12, 2023, 1:00 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1925 Boulevard Road, Olympia, WA 98501. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church. 

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